Product Manufacturing

Product Manufacturing

Fact Sheet: Product Manufacturing – Ranked #8


Estimated DALYs: 786,000


What is the industry?


Product manufacturing is a general term for industries that produce consumer products; it spans a wide range of manufacturing processes and material types. Product sectors from the Blacksmith inventory of polluted manufacturing sites include textiles, electronics, food, fuel, plastics and metals. However, there are many more types of manufacturing that fall under this umbrella term, including raw materials, agricultural products, building products, pulp and paper mills and much more. According to the National Association of Manufacturers the top four largest manufacturing industries were food, chemicals, computers and electronics and metal products.


What are the pollutants?


Pollutants vary greatly depending on the type of product being manufactured and the raw material inputs used in the process. However, the top pollutants by DALY in the product manufacturing industry are lead and chromium. Other pollutants in the Blacksmith database of product manufacturing sites include cadmium, arsenic, cyanide, dioxins, mercury, sulfur dioxide and other particulates.


What are the exposure pathways?


Again, because of the variations in product manufacturing, the exposure pathways will differ greatly. Some product manufacturing processes require heating using fuels that cause emissions; other processes create massive amounts of wastewater that is often directly dumped into waterways.


What are the health risks?


When lead is inhaled or ingested it is stored in the body and accumulates over time. Lead is designated as a possible human carcinogen, and can cause neurological, gastrointestinal and cardiovascular problems. Neurological problems include mild mental retardation, decreased IQ, shortened attention spans, loss of executive function, increased dyslexia and diminished productivity. Chromium is a known carcinogen that is proven to cause lung cancer from inhalation and is suspected to cause stomach cancer through ingestion.

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